Alcohol

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Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing. It is medically considered a disease, specifically a neurological disorder, and in medicine several other terms are used, specifically "alcoholabuse" and "alcohol dependence" which have more specific definitions.[1] In 1979 an expert World Health Organisation committee discouraged the use of "alcoholism" in medicine, preferring the category of "alcohol dependence syndrome".[2] In the 19th and early 20th centuries, alcohol dependence in general was called dipsomania, but that term now has a much more specific meaning. People sufferingfrom alcoholism are often called "alcoholics". Many other terms, some of them insulting or informal, have been used throughout history. The World Health Organization estimates that there are 140 million people with alcoholism worldwide.
Alcoholism is called a "dual disease" since it includes both mental and physical components. The biological mechanisms that cause alcoholism are not well understood.Social environment, stress, mental health, family history, age, ethnic group, and gender all influence the risk for the condition. Long-term alcohol abuse produces changes in the brain's structure and chemistry such as tolerance and physical dependence. These changes maintain the person with alcoholism's compulsive inability to stop drinking and result in alcohol withdrawal syndrome if the personstops. Alcohol damages almost every organ in the body, including the brain. The cumulative toxic effects of chronic alcohol abuse can cause both medical and psychiatric problems.
Identifying alcoholism is difficult because of the social stigma associated with the disease that causes people with alcoholism to avoid diagnosis and treatment for fear of shame or social consequences. The evaluationresponses to a group of standardized questioning is a common method for diagnosing alcoholism. These can be used to identify harmful drinking patterns, including alcoholism.[ In general, problem drinking, is considered alcoholism when the person continues to drink, when they want to stop, because of social or health problems caused by drinking.
Treatment of alcoholism takes several steps. Becauseof the medical problems that can be caused by withdrawal, alcohol detoxification is carefully controlled and may involve medications such as benzodiazepines such as diazepam (Valium). People with alcoholism also sometimes have other addictions, including addictions to benzodiazepines, which may complicate this step. After detoxification, other support such as group therapy or self-help groups areused to help the person remain sober.Thombs (1999) states according to behavioural sciences alcoholism is described as a “maladaptive behaviour”. He explains this must not be confused with “misbehaviour”. Behavioural scientists explain that addicts have a behaviour pattern that may lead to destructive consequences for themselves, their families and society. This does not label addicts as bad orirresponsible.[Compared with men, women are more sensitive to alcohol's harmful physical, cerebral, and mental effects.
Terminology
Misuse, problem use, abuse, and heavy use refer to improper use of alcohol which may cause physical, social, or moral harm to the drinker. Moderate use is defined by The Dietary Guidelines for Americans as no more than two alcoholic beverages a day for men and no morethan one alcoholic beverage a day for women Some drinkers may drink more than 600 ml of alcohol per day during a heavy drinking period[
The term "alcoholism" is commonly used, but poorly defined. The WHO calls alcoholism "a term of long-standing use and variable meaning", and use of the term was disfavored by a 1979 WHO Expert Committee. The Big Book (from Alcoholics Anonymous) states that...
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